Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday Musings on Sports - Life Lessons Learned from Golf

As regular readers of this blog are aware, the Monday post was usually devoted to sports with highlights and analysis of the Max Kellerman show which formerly aired on 1050 ESPN Radio. Although Max resigned from 1050 almost one year ago, I have tried to continue the tradition of linking sports to Torah which I believe was an undercurrent of the Max Kellerman show.

As a prelude to this blog post, I must reaffirm that I still agree with Max that golf is not truly a sport. I do not form this belief because of Max's rationale that golf is "a culture of the sewer" because it is racist and exclusionary. My belief springs from the fact that there is no athleticism involved in golf, since other than the first shot off the tee, the remainder of golf is like billiards, but played outside.

Leaving aside the question of whether golf is a sport, this past weekend's drama at the Masters taught a valuable lesson. When the tournament began on Thursday, the media and most of the world's attention was focused on Tiger Woods and how he would perform after his self imposed exile. As if there was not enough drama in Tiger's return, Nike Golf ran a commercial which made it appear that Tiger's late father Earl Woods was lecturing him.

By the time the event ended on Sunday, the focus had shifted away from Tiger and his inability to obey the rules of the Fidelity Bank and Trust Company. Instead, the drama which played out involved Phil Mickelson, the anti-Tiger in so many ways. For those who are unaware, Mickelson's wife has been battling cancer and had been unable to attend the tournament until Sunday. After Mickelson won the Masters, he shared a hug with his wife while his three young children looked on. As a pundit later commented, the only greater story would have been if Tiger had won the Masters and his wife had greeted him with a hug on the 18th hole.

After winning the Masters, Mickelson made a comment which taken in conjunction with his feelings at the time, personifies a mishna in Meseches Berachos. Mickelson commented "In the last year we've been through a lot. It's been tough. To be on the other end and feel this jubilation and share it with the family is great."

The Mishna in the last perek of Berachos teaches that one should at the same time be thankful to Hashem for what He has given you and call out for Him to help in the future. This is a difficult concept as one usually either feels one or the other emotion - a need for help with something that is troublesome or a sense of thanks for something completed. However, Phil Mickelson was able to demonstrate both concepts - he gave thanks for his winning the Masters, while obviously emoting that he hoped that his wife would continue her recovery from cancer.

Lastly, on the topic of giving thanks, I would like to give thanks to Hashem for giving me the strength to write this blog, to all who have visited my blog over the last eleven months, pushing my hit counter over 20,000 and special thanks to my wonderful family for giving me the inspiration and having the tolerance to allow me to pursue this hobby.

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1 comment:

Shaul said...

Billiards is too a sport -- it's like golf, only played indoors!